As you can see from my pictures I take a lot of them at the former Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast. Some might think I’m glorifying a lost heyday or trying to bring out something positive about this place. But I’m not, and I’ll tell you why.
Harland and Wolff was once a mighty shipyard, it built the first three-prong oil rig and the Titanic, among other ships. Today there are only a handful of workers that take the odd ship apart for scrap metal in a small area of the vast former docklands. Their operation is truly pathetic.
However, despite the past success of the shipyard I am glad that, as a wise Irish patriot once said, ‘the grass will grow over the shipyard’. It has done and soon it will all be gone, replaced by apartments, shops and public spaces. And some people will whine about lost heritage and history. But from that veryt history we need to learn a sorry lesson and be glad the shipyard is gone, because it deserved a lot worse.
Most of the workforce was Protestant in its heyday. It was a major source of sectarian support for loyalist agitation and terrorism. Indeed around the time of the Titanic there were a number of brutal and violent lynchings of Catholic workmen in the yards. Essentially Harland and Wolff employed the most bitter and hate-filled of the protestant community. In fact it is often said by Catholics in Ireland that the reason the Titanic sank was because with every rivet the workmen would curse the Holy Father.
So I’m glad Harland and Wolff is now an empty shell, in my opinion the place deserved to burn for the crimes done there and the endeavours of the people who worked there forgotten forever. But, of course, now tourists flock to see where the Titanic was built and are spoon fed the sugar coated un-truth about the place and what went on there, fuelling a lie that should have been buried long ago.
So my pictures of the shipyard is not to glorify or to hold up as some sort of ideal positive, but to show that a crime has and is being punished and that some day, God willing, the whole place will be gone and thankfully un-remembered.